back to article Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!

The UK data protection watchdog’s well-advertised raid of Cambridge Analytica’s offices is no closer to happening, as the High Court has adjourned the warrant application until tomorrow. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) raid is related to allegations around the controversial UK-based data analytics firm's use of …

Silver badge

Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around.

121
1
Anonymous Coward

or maybe get it ready.

That's a nice brexit you have there it would be a shame if you have to have another vote due to manipulation.

64
10
Silver badge

It would be hilarious if the investigating journalists anticipated this move and were documenting any 'removal' efforts going on at CA.

I bet their power usage has shot through the roof - all those drives being formatted and shredders running 24*7

72
0
Silver badge

"I bet their power usage has shot through the roof - all those drives being formatted and shredders running 24*7"

Well I hope that the journalists enquire as to whether they use smart meters or not at least.

15
0
Silver badge

Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around.

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

49
0
TRT
Silver badge

Shirley they would house the actual data offsite somewhere? I mean, if you were smart enough you could create an entirely innocuous shadow data centre, and with the click of a button, or the swap of a cable, drop in a new set of routes to a detailed analysis of which is the most popular kitten.

20
0
Silver badge

You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

They're certainly giving the conspiracy theories ample nourishment. And extra time to lay whatever trails may be expedient, maybe for example from CA to the Russian embassy.

20
2
Silver badge

Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around.

Rather more likely is that the ICO hurridly wrote a search application and threw it before the judge, and a discussion went something like this:-

ICO: We want a search warrant, he's the form.

Judge: This doesn't say where it's for, what your looking for, or who's allowed to execute it?

ICO: Well, we want to look at you know, the stuff that's been in the news. And we want to execute it.

Judge: Specify *precisely* what you are looking for and what you wish to remove from the premesis, how long for and under what authority, and specify the name of the person who is going to execute the search warrant. And who's supervising them.

ICO: Um...?

Judge: The legal requrements for getting a search are printed on the application form. And on the guidence sheet stapled to the back. Here's the form back, pencil in the required information and i'll judge it on that.

ICO: I don't know, honestly. Can I make a call and get back to you in a few hours?

Judge: No, my next job is to deal with the case that you displaced because this was urgent, but not so urgent that you could fill in the form properly. Come back in the morning with the forms filled in properly.

ICO: But, but... we said we'd get a warrant today in the media!

Judge: THEN FILL IN THE FORM WITH THE INFORMATION LEGALLY REQUIRED TO GET A SEARCH WARRANT!

ICO: Um, Tommorow morning you said?

Judge. At 9AM. Be late and i'll hear another case instead.

50
4
Silver badge

Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around.

Of course they do. CA are too valuable a future resource, as the recent scandal has pointed out, they apparently swayed an election in Trumps direction.

They want to be seen to be doing something, not actually take any action.

If CA were a normal member of the public, bang, cops crashing into your bedroom at six a.m. Kids whisked away, house turned upside down, perp walk in a half open dressing gown to flashing bulbs.

34
0
Anonymous Coward

All the Leave.EU documents have been deleted for sure....

17
1
Anonymous Coward

Powers of entry without warrant

I believe the trick if you know what you're doing is to get a suitable other party involved in the investigation, one of those who either don't need a search warrant to enter premises(**) (HM Customs & Excise, the VAT man, now part of Inland Revenue) or I dare say getting a Child Protection Officer onside would speed things up massively (when the safety of a minor is demonstrably at risk a raft of further powers become available and warrants etc are easier to obtain).

So if you can say "we believe that in the act of illicitly gaining access, they may have been dealing with cash in hand / back-handers / undeclared income and thereby avoiding VAT" or "we believe they may have illegally obtained details of vulnerable minors (hey, kids have Facebook a/c's too) who were then targeted individually", then it may speed things up massively.

Whether the ICO is clued up enough to know these sorts of techniques is another thing...

** - Small print - IANAL, but the rules vary as to if the property is a private dwelling or commercial premises, and whether they can force entry / break-open / enter at "unreasonable times", but if HMRC appear at business premises during business hours with the right accusations, you're pretty much obliged to let them in without them having to produce a warrant and they have powers of seizure.

10
0
Silver badge
Devil

Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around.

Pah! Far too late for that - I triggered the Download Everything From CA App days ago.

Bum; oh what a giveaway. (Python, M)

3
0
Silver badge

"If CA were a normal member of the public, bang, cops crashing into your bedroom at six a.m. Kids whisked away, house turned upside down, perp walk in a half open dressing gown to flashing bulbs."

If CA were a normal member of the public, the ICO would write a strongly worded letter telling them not to do it again.

6
1
Silver badge

Re: Powers of entry without warrant

I believe the trick if you know what you're doing is to get a suitable other party involved in the investigation, one of those who either don't need a search warrant to enter premises(**) (HM Customs & Excise, the VAT man, now part of Inland Revenue) or I dare say getting a Child Protection Officer onside would speed things up massively (when the safety of a minor is demonstrably at risk a raft of further powers become available and warrants etc are easier to obtain).

No, it's not. It's really, really not. And taking your list of organisations:-

1) HM Customs & Excise is now HMRC.

2) The VAT Man is now HMRC.

3) The Inland Revenue is now HMRC.

and;-

4) HMRC require search warrants to search.

HMRC simply obtain search warrants like clockwork because they always fill out the form correctly and make the right arguments and don't give the court any reason to throw their applications out.

Here's the form the ICO probably didn't fill in correctly just so you can see the pitfalls.

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/docs/crimpr-part6-rule6-32app.pdf

8
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Clean house...

Given the links CA claim to have with various intelligence organisations, I think it highly likely that the aforementioned intelligence organisations will want to scrub anything pertinent to "national security" before the ICO gets anywhere near it.

Unfortunately CA has had so much advance warning of this "surprise raid" that they've probably already shredded everything incriminating at this point, which will keep both the intelligence organisations and the fraudulently elected establishment happy.

As for justice against CA, it'll be a dog and pony show, just like the Chilcot Report, the 9/11 Commission and the FCIC. A few low-grade wrists will get slapped, but the one-percenters responsible will be protected at all costs.

17
0
Silver badge

Didn't their CEO brag

About how they were using encrypting and self destructing emails to avoid congressional oversight in the US? There may not be much for them to cover up, instead the extra day is just giving all their people time to practice saying "I'm sorry, I do not recall" for the 100th time in a row while maintaining a straight face.

6
0
Silver badge

"Rather more likely is that the ICO hurridly wrote a search application and threw it before the judge, and a discussion went something like this:-"

The ICO has been very pointedly ignoring CA's antics for the last 2 years until the C4 "expose" gave it no choice but to be seen to be taking action.

But the conversation is likely to have been close to that described.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Powers of entry without warrant

"Whether the ICO is clued up enough to know these sorts of techniques is another thing..."

The ICO is very clued up.

You should be asking why the ICO has been so reluctant to take action until its hand was forced by being publicly dragged backwards through a hedge a few times and who stands to benefit most from them bolloxing up the ensuing non-investigation

12
0
Silver badge

No matter what they shred, when the ICO comes round they have to have something to show. And it has to look at least semi plausible to account for the known facts. Otherwise they're bang to rights for destroying evidence, which is a far more serious crime.

Destroying the data would be easy. Replacing it - convincingly - not so much. Just ask anyone who's ever been audited...

2
0
Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

"Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around."

Careful, that's a dangerous path you're starting down - implying that the establishment is/are/wuz competent...

3
0
Silver badge

Clean house

Yup - "Cambridge" = Friends in high, sorry, low places

2
0
Facepalm

@TRT

If you were smart enough you could create an entirely innocuous shadow data centre, but CA is not smart. See how they walked with open eyes into the Ch4 trap about a Sri Lankan "client" without apparently doing any desk-research.

3
0

Re: Powers of entry without warrant

Not just commercial property. HMRC can turn up at a directors house with out a warrant too. They do not even have to knock, they can if they like force entry.

1
0
Silver badge

@Peter2

More likely the ICO forgot to put the application in the case with a bottle of 50 year old scotch whisky.

2
0
Silver badge
Meh

@Peter2

More likely the ICO forgot to put the application in the case with a bottle of 50 year old scotch whisky.

Ah. Yes.

Eldakka: And your honour, my closing argument is this bottle of 50 year old scotch.

Judge: That's 10 years.

Eldakka: No, 50 year old single malt scotch whisky.

Judge: No, I mean that's ten years inprisonment under Section 1 of the Bribary act 2010.

Eldakka: But...?

Judge: Yes, there has to be a seperate trial for that with a different Judge. Along with attempting to pervert the course of justice and abuse of process. But here's six months for contempt of court now.

Eldakka: But...!

Judge: For the benefit of the record (and cameras) I remand "Eldakka" to six months inprisonment for contempt of court. [mutters:] Does he really think that after spending 20 years getting to this position i'm going to throw it away over a bottle of bloody scotch worth less than my daily pay?[/mutters]

5
0
Silver badge

"That's a nice brexit you have there it would be a shame if you have to have another vote due to manipulation."

Short of them actually forcing voters hand in the booth, how can they have been any more manipulative than all the hysterical newspapers and other media outlets for both leave and remain during the Brexit campaign that were all economical with the truth to a shameful degree?

4
2

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

all those drives being formatted

s/formatted/"meeting a 4lb lump hammer for a very non-quiet chat"/* g

(I suspect that post-lump-hammer the data will be a lot less retrievable than if the drives were just reformatted)

0
0

Homeopathic Persuasion!

What you mean things like the government's £9 million pro-EU leaflet campaign, the BBC's endless denigration of the Leave campaign, or the FT / Guardian/ Economist / HM Treasury / LibDem / most MPs / Bob Geldof / Tony Blair / Ken Clarke continuous forecasts of instant economic collapse and World War 3?

No the Russians / Cambridge Analytica / Underwear Gnomes have got a much more effective method than that. They plant secret messages on Facebook and Twitter which make people who haven't got Facebook and Twitter accounts vote in one way or another.

Yes, the Russians / Cambridge Analytica have perfected ... Homeopathic Persuasion - the less of it there is, the more effective it is! Cunning swine! And, like homeopathy, it's most effective if it isn't actually there at all.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Anyone dumb enough to believe Brexit wasn't powered by CA? What political movement would turn down an offer of a way to win? All politicians are scumbags and will do whatever it takes....

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Anyone would think that the establishment are trying to give CA enough of a chance to clean their house before they have a snoop around."

You might be on to something there. Others seem to be drifting in the same direction, with some advice to the ICO about how to do it right next time - https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-Cambridge-Analytica-Facebook-politics-story-a-scandal/answer/Stuart-Ritchie-3

0
0

Fortunately under the GDPR the ICO is no longer central to to the process. Not irrelevant of course, because the ICO can still impose additional orders and punishments.

Also, any of the other 45 Supervisory Authorities can step in and fine malefactors if they think the ICO is dragging its feet

0
0

Re: Powers of entry without warrant

Good points, but they miss the "key points"

- Criminal search warrants can be tricky, and the ICO if they're contemplating criminal charges should simply turn the matter over to the CPS, as happened in respect of all the data protection criminal convictions associated with a certain naval-sounding insurance group a few years back.

- civil Search Orders ought to be relatively straightforward, plus the RCJ has a dedicated Applications court plus a 24/7 duty judge for genuine emergency applications, plus civil judges (paradoxically) have occasionally useful powers instantly to jail people for contempt for up to two years (without charge or trial or appeal). As with a certain notorious cellphone-not-being-switched-off-in-court episode a few years back...

- Here's the amusing "killer" - obviously the publicity has eliminated any chance of any judge considering this an emergency or something that must be done without notice (aka ex parte aka without the other party represented at first hearing). Because if they had factual grounds to need such an order, they wouldn't have blabbed. Which in turn undermines the ICO's opportunities ever to secure the Order it seeks!

0
0
Silver badge

Delivery van issue

Looks like taking out all files received under list X entitlement from the DoD, MI5/6 and GCHQ is taking longer than expected. Surely not editing a crime scene to remove HMG involvement. We never do thing like this don't we.

The crate pictures in the press are quite cute by the way. BIG CRATES.

32
1

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

A deafening sound of shredding from CA headquarters and Conservative HQ....allegedly.

32
3

The Conservative Party has nothing to hide. We know this because Theresa May confirmed in Parliament that at this precise second the party has no contracts with CA. So that's alright then. Nothing to see here. Please move along.

41
2
Anonymous Coward

A deafening sound of shredding

and such an allegation might account for the relatively small amount of coverage on the BBC.

7
7
Silver badge

The Conservative Party has nothing to hide. We know this because Theresa May confirmed in Parliament that at this precise second the party has no contracts with CA. So that's alright then. Nothing to see here. Please move along.

Indeed, but of course, 'has' != 'had', and 'the party' != 'party members' != 'party donors', etc.

13
0
Silver badge

oh, and most importantly, 'the party' != 'the government' (technically).

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Aaron Banks lied the same..

3
2

Re: A deafening sound of shredding

Not sure which BBC coverage you've been ignoring, but I've seen/read/heard plenty of coverage on the web/newsfeed/tv/radio - although at the start it was slanted towards 'swaying elections' rather than 'stealing all your data'

4
0
Anonymous Coward

The SNP’s Ian Blackford said SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, has been run by a chairman of Oxford Conservative Association.

He also claimed its founding chairman was a former Tory MP and a director had donated over £700,000 to the party.

No links there then......

6
0
Anonymous Coward

All that hard work...

...projecting an image of incompetence personified is paying off handsomely.

No one will suspect a thing!

20
0
Silver badge

Re: All that hard work...

Normally one asks, what are they distracting attention from?

The ICO may be small fry compared to, say, the government and navy, but the Russian spat and Boris's gratuitous invocation of Godwin's law are by no means small. Is the other story going wrong already?

11
0
Silver badge

Re: All that hard work...

Is the other story going wrong already?

IT IS. The super scary agricultural poison has been detected on the vehicle that was taking the darling daughter from the airport - 24h before they were found on the bench.

I have now TWO Belaz worth of Popcorn on Order.

One is for the moment when an Airbus 320 (I looked up the actual serial numbers on flightradar) is arrested somewhere in Europe and declared a crime scene for a case of smuggling (*).

The second Belaz is to watch the involvement of the Royal Family in CA and a Mountbatten having a directorship in SCL and what does this mean constitutionally for Britain.

The problem is - the corn merchants have run out of stock.

(*)I suspect that it has already had an unusually professional and thorough clean. Something the company who owns it skimps on lately. They make the crew clean their plane for exta 10 quid per go instead.

2
4
Anonymous Coward

Do we know why this has been adjourned?

I would also not want be Elizabeth Denham's friend if she was planning you a surprise party.

14
0
Silver badge

Reminds me of an old Soviet stand up comedian gag

The gag is called Specialist and the guy doing it pretends he is answering the phone and provides all kind of information not for public consumption. You can hear only one side of the dialogue - the "Specialist" one and you are left to guess what the other side was asking for on the phone.

Somewhere in the middle of the gag there is the following:

The tax inspection for your premises has been delayed...Yes Delayed... It will happen suddenly without warning on the eighteenth of January at 10 am. Yes... Yes of course... Cheers".

http://odesskiy.com/zhvanetskiy-tom-2/spetsialist.html

21
1
Silver badge

Re: Reminds me of an old Soviet stand up comedian gag

Bit like the old Soviet gag about the man buying a car,

"Comrade, good news! Your new Lada will be delivered on May 1st in 4 years time!"

"Morning or afternoon?"

"Why? It's in 4 years time!"

"Because the plumber is coming in the morning on that day"

29
0
Silver badge

Morning Boss

Morning boss!

Just thought i'd mention - we've had this outlook meeting request come through for a surprise inspection by the authorities.

"Thanks Dave, tell everyone to carry on using Wikr to communicate, and lets make a start on 'problem with our backups #1' and pull up the files on who we've fired recently please, one of them will do."

16
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018